The Heather Curling Club in Mapleton will be the site of the 2019 Senior Men’s National Championship Feb. 26 through March 3. When HCC President Jeff Annis found out that no other club had offered a bid to host the event, he submitted a bid from the club in Mapleton, thinking that maybe there would be 15 to 20 teams register. In 2018, there were a total of 19 teams registered for the event held in Duluth, Minn. Much to Annis’ surprise, 30 teams had registered for this year, however, one team recently dropped.
With 29 teams registered from 17 different states—New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Utah, Kansas, Colorado, North Dakota, New Jersey, Missouri, Arizona, Illinois, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota and North Carolina—Annis asked the Caledonia Curling Club in Mankato to share their ice in order to have enough sheets to handle a draw that large.
“This is the most teams they have ever had” in the Senior Men’s National Championship. According to Annis, the sport of curling has really taken off since the 2018 Olympics. “The Olympic craze has not hurt anything. Everyone wants to be involved.”
Local curlers in the event will be Randy Cumming and Jeff Annis with the Farbelow team, and Tim Solie and Mark Larson with the Ken Starkey team. Annis stated that Starkey lived in Mapleton a few years back. Starkey’s team will play in Mapleton on Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the opening round at 7 p.m. The Farbelow rink will play its first game on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. in Mankato.
The winner of last year’s Senior Men’s National Championship was the Jeff Wright team of Illinois. They are seeded no. 1 this year followed by the Farbelow rink, which is seeded no. 2. The winner of this year’s Senior Men’s National Championship will travel to the Senior Men’s World Championship in Stavanger, Norway, April 20-27.
Practices for the teams will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, in both Mapleton and Mankato. The opening round of the draw will begin in Mapleton at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Curling will take place at both Mapleton and Mankato Wednesday through Friday, and the semi-finals and finals will be held in Mapleton on Saturday and Sunday. (A complete schedule will be posted on the HCC website at www.mapletoncurlingclub.org.)
This will be a good opportunity to stop in at the HCC and Calendonia club to watch some good curling. Admission to watch the games at the clubs in Mapleton and Mankato is free. Annis noted that the games in Mapleton can now be streamed. So for those who are not able to make it out to the HCC rink, they can watch from the comfort of their own home. They will also have live scoring. Maggie J’s will also be streaming the games.
To stream the games, go to the HCC website listed above and click on the Senior Men’s Nationals tab where a link will be available. You can also go to tesn.us and look for Heather CC under the schedule. Annis stated that the local leagues are already being streamed on the tesn.us website.
Hosting an event of this size requires a lot of work and Annis stated that the HCC is looking for volunteers who would like to help out at the club with anything from welcoming and talking with the teams as they arrive, cleaning the ice, updating the draw to helping out in the back club room and keeping the club clean in general. If you would like to help out during the event, send an email to: email@example.com.
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